They Want Your Kids: Pornhub Blocks Access in Montana and North Carolina Due to Age Verification Laws

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SYRACUSE, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: A Syracuse Orange fan wearing a Pornhub t-shirt poses for cameras during the first half of a football game between the Syracuse Orange and the Western Michigan Broncos at the Carrier Dome on September 21, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeats Western Michigan 52-33. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Continuing an ongoing trend, Pornhub has blocked users in Montana and North Carolina due to newly implemented age verification laws in these states.

Engadget reports that 2024 marked a major change in how adult websites operate in certain U.S. states. A number of states, including Montana and North Carolina, recently enacted laws requiring age verification for online adult content access. In response, Pornhub, one of the world’s most porn sites, has opted to block access for users in these states completely in an effort to avoid the requirement of obtaining government ID copies from visitors.

Pornhub model take a selfie ( Ethan Miller /Getty)

The newly enacted laws are part of a growing trend in the United States aimed at strengthening online age verification processes. This trend was initiated by Louisiana in early 2023, with several other states like Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, Virginia, and Texas following suit with their versions of the law. In North Carolina, the age verification rule was introduced as a part of a broader measure mandating computer science classes for high school students.

In August 2023, Breitbart News reported:

In Arkansas, the law known as SB 66 went into effect this week, leading to Pornhub’s immediate response. The company argued that the law, intended to protect children, could actually put them and users’ privacy at risk. “While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, giving your ID card every time you want to visit an adult platform is not the most effective solution for protecting our users, and in fact, will put children and your privacy at risk,” MindGeek wrote in a message replacing the site’s front page for affected users.
Virginia’s law, which took effect on July 1, has also drawn criticism from Pornhub. The company expressed its concern for user safety but disagreed with the method of age verification. “The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns,” Pornhub said in a statement, according to a report by WRIC-TV. “We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification.” The company further added, “Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Virginia.”
The governor’s office in Virginia has expressed commitment to the new law, with a spokeswoman for Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) stating, “The governor remains committed to protecting Virginia’s children from dangerous material on the internet.”

While Pornhub and its sister sites, under parent company Aylo (formerly MindGeek), including Brazzers, Redtube, and YouPorn, have chosen to block access, other adult platforms are exploring alternative age verification methods. For instance, some sites are using third-party providers for user authentication rather than resorting to regional access restrictions.

Some critics have argued that requiring users to provide personal ID’s for age verification could expose users to privacy risks and lead to major traffic drops for the websites, which Pornhub experienced in Louisiana. Proponents of the laws, however, see them as necessary steps in protecting minors from accessing inappropriate content and ensuring a safer online environment.

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